The famed Waldorf Astoria chain began life in New York in the late 1800s and has built a reputation for top service and sumptuous elegance at locations across the globe. Waldorf Astoria Bangkok takes a prime location in Ratchadamri area. Its proximity to the Central Business District and refined meeting rooms makes it an ideal base for work trips, while stunning views take in the city and neighbouring Lumphini Park. Nothing is too much trouble here and the culinary fare alone attracts visitors on its own merit.
The main part of the hotel has been designed by architect André Fu and his design studio AFSO, the aesthetic incorporates the classic Astoria style, accented and combined with a Thai artisanal tradition. As you move through the hotel, it feels like a visual journey. The top three floors present a contrast, having been designed by New York conceptualists AvroKO. Colours are soothing and neutral to create a relaxed environment, but the peppering of grand-scale features reminds us of the hotel’s legacy and standards. Rooms are all at least 50sqm and offer clean simple lines, with large and opulent marble bathrooms. Some have park views and others have city views, but be sure to upgrade if you want to take advantage of the very best vistas surrounding the building.
A definite highlight of any stay here is a dip in the outdoor, teardrop-shaped infinity swimming pool with its own tree flanked island. Take in the panoramic city centre views from the 16th floor as you swim in the temperature-controlled waters, or lounge on a private cabana. Staff bring guests fruit skewers and water and with opening till 10 pm, this is an especially magical place to get away from it all by night, in the centre of the city’s action. The spa has a suitably blissful range of treatments too. Dreamy massages follow the Thai tradition and can be arranged for couples or individuals in one of the treatment rooms. Those wanting to work up a sweat can do so in the well-equipped fitness suite, again with some impressive views.
Dining and Bars
With three restaurants, a lounge and several bars to choose from, there’s an array of fine food and drink created from locally sourced ingredients. The cuisine is international – head chefs here hail from Italy, Australia, Thailand and have worked in a number of countries, the influences of which are tangible.
The Front Room is first for finesse and takes a Thai/Nordic approach to its tasting and a la carte menus. The Brasserie is a livelier setting, with emphasis on French food in its Western kitchen, but also with an Asian kitchen and live cooking stations. It’s also the setting for its legendary buffet breakfast.
And of course, no Waldorf hotel would be complete with a Peacock Alley, something of an institution. This lounge carries the bonus of overlooking the elegant Royal Bangkok Sports Club – and if you fancy a bit of tradition, this is where to get your Eggs Benedict. For grilled or slow-roasted meats and seafood, Bull & Bear is an upbeat, art deco spot for dining and drinking. The centrepiece is a re-creation of Wall Street’s Bull & Bear statue.
And for pre- or post-dinner drinks, there are two options. The Loft, an Art-Noveau hideout with gourmet snacks styled on an artist’s studio. Or there’s the Champagne Bar, complete with rocking chairs, chandeliers and vintage charm. Once you’re settled in for the evening, with cocktails and bubbles flowing, you won’t want to leave.
Unique Guest Services
A stay at the Waldorf Astoria is a glamorous experience and it can start before you even step a foot on the premises. Guests can book the hotel’s private limousine from the airport and receive a virtual welcome via a video greeting message on the iPad (the personal concierge takes over on arrival). The transfer time is around 40 minutes, but in hectic traffic can stretch to being considerably longer, so it’s well worth the limo upgrade over a regular taxi option. The roads can be busy and frenetic, whereas the service allows travellers to arrive calm and collected, fresh from the serenity of an air-conditioned motor cocoon.
This upmarket sophistication of this hotel is probably more appreciated by adult travellers, whether for business or leisure. But if you do bring little ones, they’ll love the cute and quirky teepees provided in rooms for kids. It also makes for a perfect wedding venue, whether a grand celebration in the Magnolia Ballroom or something smaller in one of the more intimate event spaces. With five star standards and so many extras, it’s no surprise that the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok made Travel + Leisure’s It List 2019.
The ubiquity of premium hotels in Bangkok means you get a lot of bang for your buck here, and this is no exception. The Waldorf does offer an international, rather than a local vibe. So if it’s an authentic Thai experience you’re seeking, this may be a little Americanised for you. But it makes a perfect and high-end home from home for travellers who expect the best in service and standards that can be relied upon. Visitors should be sure to enjoy Afternoon Tea at Peacock Alley at least once before leaving and to swim in the infinity pool after dark, lit by moonlight and the twinkling city lights.
We have included the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok in our guide to the best luxury hotels in Bangkok.
Address: 151 Ratchadamri Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok 10330, Thailand